Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Deu 13:1-3
"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among
you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder
of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods'
(gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,' you must not listen to the
words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out
whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deu
"In the book of Deuteronomy it was laid down what the attitude
of the people of Israel should be to those who claimed to speak with the
authority of God's Holy Spirit.
"First, does the prophet utter prophecies which are proved to
be true by their fulfilment? 'If the word does not come to pass or come true,
that is a word which the Lord has not spoken, the prophet has spoken it
presumptuously', ie, without God's authority (Deu 18:22). But there was always
the possibility that the 'prophet' might succeed, by means of a bit of clever
guesswork, in deceiving his hearers. So then a further test: 'If a prophet
arises among you... and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and
if he says, "Let us go after other gods"... you shall not listen to the words of
that prophet' (Deu 13:1,2).
"In other words, a prophecy or a sign or a wonder does not
guarantee that the Holy Spirit is at work. The final and certain test is whether
the teaching is good and true and right" (Harry Whittaker, "Gifts of the Holy
Reading 2 - Ecc 6:9
"Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite.
This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind" (Ecc 6:9).
It is better to enjoy what one has than to desire the
unattainable. The thoughts of the heart are only evil continually, and ought to
be curbed, not indulged (Gen 6:5). "People who want to get rich fall into
temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men
into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced
themselves with many griefs" (1Ti 6:9,10).
Man must learn to be content with what he has, so long as he
has the promises of God (Heb 13:5,6), to be content whatever the circumstances,
because he knows that his God can supply every need (Phi 4:11-13; Mat 6:25-33).
We do not find happiness OUTSIDE of ourselves; we find
happiness INSIDE ourselves.
It may be said there are two ways to find happiness:
"Get everything you want" -- but, given man's inherent lustful nature, this
is impossible: there will always be more to desire! Or...
"Enjoy -- and be
thankful for -- what you have" -- this EVERYONE can
Reading 3 - Acts 3:6
"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I
have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk' " (Acts 3:6).
There were gates of gold and silver, and an exceedingly
Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2) -- enormous wealth was concentrated in the Temple of
the Jews, but none of it did any good for the poor lame man, who sat year after
year in its shadow; none of it could deliver him from his affliction. "For you
know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were
redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1Pe
Also compare Exo 20:23,24: "Do not make any gods to be
alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Make an
altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it... Wherever I cause my name to be
honored, I will come to you and bless you." The temple -- with all its gold and
silver -- though it was practically worshiped as a "god" by the devout Jews,
could not bring deliverance, or salvation, to the lame man. What could deliver
him was recourse to the simple "altar" of "earth" (human nature), which was
Jesus Christ. This plain and unadorned "altar" of flesh honored the name of his
Father and thus brought a blessing unattainable elsewhere!
The apostles had apparently provided no redemption money for
the Day of Atonement (Exo 30:12-14); they knew that their redemption -- even as
the healing of the lame man -- was in and through the precious blood of